The center-left party led by ousted Honduran President Mel Zelaya said Thursday it does not accept the validity of official results showing that its candidate finished second in the Dec. 6 presidential election.

Zelaya, who was removed by the military in June 2009, and Libre party activists staged a sit-in outside the offices of the TSE electoral tribunal a day after the panel proclaimed ruling party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez president-elect.

Hernandez, standard-bearer of the rightist National Party, prevailed with 36.89 percent of the vote, compared with 28.77 percent for Libre candidate Xiomara Castro, according to the TSE.

The TSE refused even to examine the 3,604 precinct tallies Libre presented as evidence of fraud, Zelaya - who is Castro's husband - told Efe.

Libre's next move will be to ask the Supreme Court to order the TSE to undertake a serious review of the election results, Zelaya said.

The party's legal representative before the TSE, Ricci Moncada, said the electoral tribunal "has denied an audit, has denied an audit of the voting rolls, has denied inspections."

"And consequently, it has denied us the chance to prove ... that Xiomara Castro won the elections," he said.

Many governments and international bodies, including the United States and the European Union, have recognized Hernandez as president-elect and offered their congratulations.

Honduras has the world's highest murder rate, but the Dec. 6 vote - amid massive turnout - was largely peaceful, though five people were gunned down near a polling place.

The country's current head of state, Porfirio Lobo, was elected in November 2009 in a process marred by repression, violence and media censorship.

Fewer than half of eligible voters cast ballots in that election, which was run by the regime installed after the military coup against Zelaya.

Leaders and supporters of the coup continue to control the main levers of power in Honduras. EFE